The new building will become part of a girl's school that already occupies two other buildings between Crest and Wetherly drives. Chabad plans to soon break ground on a new high school facility at the corner of Wetherly and Pico, at the site of a parking lot that the group already owns.
"The Rebbe always put massive emphasis on educating Jewish women," says Rabbi Boruch Shlomo Cunin, director of West Coast Chabad. "Women are more important than men because it is the women who carry the spirituality in the Jewish home."
The current campus accommodates about 350 girls, from pre-first through 12th grade, along with a mixed preschool. The addition should enable the school to house another 200 students.
Cunin sees the Pico location as a hub for the region, attracting students from many of the far-flung locations Chabad serves. The high school, which was established three years ago and recently graduated its first class, also has an adjacent dormitory, where about 20 girls from Northern California and San Diego will be living next year.
Rabbi Danny Yiftach-Hashem, administrator of Gan Israel, Bais Chaya Mushka, Bais Rebbe and Bais Chana, the preschool, elementary, junior and high school programs, respectively, says that, for several years, the school has had to turn away potential students because there was no room.